Batch Baking, Fixed Beds And Celeriac

Before I start I thought I would show you a couple of photos that I took yesterday out of the car window, whilst my husband was driving.  I think the display of daffodils that Leicester City Council planted a few years ago, really look beautiful this year.  I think the daffodils are the variety called ‘Tete-a-Tete’ and they look stunning planted all along the central reservation.

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Yesterday morning I did my usual weekend ‘batch baking’.  I love baking all in one go, as it saves me time during the week and energy as I cook things together.

This weekend I made fruit scones and weetabix chocolate brownies for lunch boxes and a chocolate cake for tea. I butter the scones before freezing them as it makes it easier in the mornings, as I just take a couple of scones out and pop them a lunch box.

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I also made a large pot of vegetable soup to take to the allotment with me in my flask.  I love having homemade soup with a homemade roll, sitting in the sunshine at my allotment watching all the birds and insects buzzing around….and it’s full of vitamins and cheap too.

My homemade soup has whatever I fancy from the freezer when I make it.  Yesterday’s soup has my homegrown swede, turnip, courgettes, runnerbeans, broadbeans, pumpkin and leeks in it.

I just fried the leek in a tablespoon of olive oil until it was soft and threw everything else in and just covered it all with vegetable stock and left it to simmer for thirty minutes.

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I then used my hand blender to ‘blitz’ it until it was smooth and divided it into portions which I froze when it had cooled down.

It really is an easy meal to make.

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At my allotment this weekend I noticed lots of ladybirds appearing.  In this particular clump of overgrown grass there were loads of them together, though the photograph actually only shows three.

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I have ‘fixed beds’ at my allotment, which just means I have paths either side of my beds so I don’t need to walk on them.  This makes it far easier for me to manage the soil, as I can just lightly ‘fork’ over my beds if I need to.

I chose not to have raised beds as I couldn’t afford the wood for raised beds (as I have four plots) and I would also need to buy in the top soil to fill them.

My top soil is nice and deep and I don’t think raised beds would be an advantage for me.  The only exception is my one raised bed that I use to grow my carrots in, as I can not grow carrots in my very heavy soil.  This one and only raised bed is made up each year of my homemade compost, leafmould and a bag of sand and this is the only way I have managed to grow carrots.

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So this week I have been busy finishing the weed suppressant paths that I talked about here and I have been ‘forking’ over this area ready for my legumes.

I think this area looks much better without the bricks holding the weed suppressant down and it will be lovely not to have the weed suppressant ‘fraying’ all over the place as it gets caught up in my fork, which is very annoying as it makes the job harder to do.

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There was one area that I had been treading on all winter, as I had put the prunings that I took from my plum tree late last summer there.  This wasn’t a wise move as it was really hard work forking the soil over, as it had all compacted and the water was slow to drain from this area.

  I thought I would show you the difference between the soil that I had trod on lots over the winter and the soil that I hadn’t trod on.  Both photos were taken when I had turned the soil over with my fork.  You can see the soil structure where I hadn’t walked, in the right hand photo. This was far better than the soil on the left hand photo, where I had walked.  So this is really enough proof to me that my ‘fixed’ beds do actually work.

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This weekend I had been transplanting some of my plants at the allotment.  I have divided my chysanthemums and planted them through my weed suppressant next to the boxes that I made last week to edge my plot:

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I have also been transplanting some of them to the outside of my woodland area, together with foxgloves that have self seeded around my plot.  Hopefully they will look lovely when they flower.

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And finally, I transplanted some Michaelmas daisys that had outgrown their spot, to the back of my plot around the Hazel trees which I coppiced this winter…

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…I do already have Lavatera and Buddlia growing at the back of the Hazel, so hopefully with the  Michaelmas daisys,   this area won’t look so bare whilist the Hazel is growing back.

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One last thing, I picked the last of my celeriac this weekend.  I don’t usually leave it in the ground overwinter, but I somehow over looked it….but I have got away with it as it has been so mild.  The celeraic does have one or two slug holes in, but I am really pleased with it overall.

So my next job is to freeze it this week.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at my usual time.

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13 thoughts on “Batch Baking, Fixed Beds And Celeriac

    • We prefer to roast it like parsnips, but you can boil it in water and mash together with potatoes if you want or add it to curries etc. If you are growing it for the first time, don’t plant it out until all frosts have past in your area and remember the secret to good sized celeriac is to water it well twice a week as it really like lots of water

  1. We have fixed beds too but with grass paths which I can sit on when weeding, We have about half a dozen buddleias on our plot which I hacked back last week – a result of cuttings rooting too easily, I do agree that homemade soup is delicious but I must admit I rarely bake now in an attempt to cut down on the amount of cake etc that we eat.

  2. I don’t know Leicester,( we visited the uni when our daughter was looking for a place to study) it looks lovely.
    I make my soup the same way as you, it always goes down a treat.
    Everything in your allotments look as though it’s coming along nicely.
    Best wishes
    Angela(Devon)

    • I still have some areas that need sorting at my allotment but Rome wasn’t built in a day lol. Leicester has a few nice places but like every city it has some horrid ones too, but I thought the daffodils look lovely.

  3. Lovely to see your allotment all laid out beautifully, we can semi grow on ours this year but we are still sorting out alot of the fencing etc, it has been too wet to get up to the land, car got stuck once, but now we can start and try and get as much done as possible, we are moving an old shed up there for tools etc, and i shall grow on the patch left at home. Your soup sounds delicious i really must have a go at making soup.
    Sue

  4. The daffodils look just fine! We have roses set up in a similar manner here.
    Oooh, more of your divine cooking! I love eating stuff I didn’t make!!
    I wish I had a witchhazel tree, you luckyduck!
    I haven’t as yet tried celeriac…am looking forward to seeing what you’re doing with it 🙂

  5. Boy you have been working hard – butter the scone before freezing is a top tip – I could just eat some of that soup right now, it would cheer up what is a miserable day here in the north west. I do love celeriac – is it easy to grow?? it is mighty expensive in the shops isn’t it. Another fabulous post that has inspired me to get sowing some seeds. Thank you.

    • Hi Lorna, celeriac is easy to grow but you would need to sow the seeds straight away now as it’s slow growing….I planted mine in February. If you are growing it for the first time, don’t plant it out until all frosts have past in your area and remember the secret to good sized celeriac is to water it well twice a week as it really like lots of water (that’s where a lot of people go wrong with it).

      Let me know how you get on at the end of the season if you sow it.

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